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PRO FOOTBALL WEEK 1 | JACKSONVILLE 24, CHICAGO 23

Brunell Is Short but Sweet

September 07, 1998|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — With his team trailing by six points and four minutes remaining, Jacksonville Jaguar quarterback Mark Brunell looked around the huddle. There was no fiery speech, no screaming, no pleading--just a simple: "Let's go guys."

Brunell then took the Jaguars on an 87-yard game-winning drive on Sunday in a 24-23 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Brunell was eight of nine for 73 yards on the drive, throwing to Jimmy Smith for a four-yard touchdown with 29 seconds left.

"There wasn't anything that was a miracle statement or any 'Rah! Rah!' " said Brunell, who was 22 of 35 for 207 yards and two touchdowns. "It was just, 'Hey, let's go. Let's go do it.' We know we can do it better than what we're playing. And the guys responded."

The Jaguars lost three fumbles that led to Chicago scores in the first half, then had trouble in the fourth quarter with rookie running back Curtis Enis, whose barreling runs set up two scores that gave the Bears a 20-17 lead with 8:50 left.

Enis, the fifth overall pick in the draft, missed almost all of training camp because of a holdout. He had 77 yards in 12 carries, but asked to be taken out of the game after getting the Bears to the Jacksonville one, from where Edgar Bennett scored.

But the Bears blew a chance to wrap up the game on its last scoring drive. Erik Kramer's 21-yard pass to Bobby Engram got the Bears to the Jaguar four, but they had to settle for Jeff Jaeger's 19-yard field goal, which made it 23-17 with 4:08 left.

That set the stage for Brunell.

"We knew going into the huddle that they weren't going to stop us," wide receiver Keenan McCardell said. "When we get that feeling, it's hard for anybody to stop us."

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